coinfodder's Blog

27 Oct 2020

The Fifty States of Coinage- Part 12- Idaho

Coins-United States | coinfodder

Lets stop ranting about the US Mint from last week and let us fly from Hawaii to the land of spuds.

Idaho is one of the most desolate states, having first been settled 14,500 years ago. These people became the Nez Perce and the Shoshone. Advancing several thousand years, and we find that the French are sailing up the Missouri River into the rich fur-trading region. They left their mark on the state, as we now have many French-named cities, such as Coeur-de-Alene, Boise, and so on. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made Idaho a part of the Oregon Territory, due to the fact that it was in the Oregon Valley. Later in the 1800's, the Indian's were driven out of Idaho, but not before a determined push by Chief Joseph to lead the Nez Perce into Canada In 1890, the territory of Idaho was officially named a state, and contributed an alternate source of silver for mintage. In the 1960's, the mining industry shut down nearly for good, and Idaho's economy went into a tailspin.

Today, Idaho remains the desolate location it was during the age of the fur-trappers, landing only on the news when so-called Neo Nazi's used Idaho as it's base. The state is a popular tourist destination, and the state remains famous for its spuds. Famous Idahoans include Edgar Rice Burroughs and Chief Joseph. And who can forget the blue colored football field?

Unfortunately, Idaho is thin on the ground when it comes to coins, so I minus well mention what I could find. The 50 State Quarter Design and the ATB Quarter design were all good designs. The 50 State Quarter depicts a facsimile of the state, with the state bird, the peregrine falcon, which is one of the fastest birds in the world.

The ATB Quarter on the other hand, was released last year, and was depicting the Frank Church Wilderness River of No Return. The nearly unknown National Forest is the largest single wilderness unit outside of Alaska, another testament to the desolation of the state. The coin itself features the Salmon River, and a female rafter, a touch of designer Emily Damstra, rafting down some of the rougher rapids.

Unfortunately, the state runs dry on coins, so I minus well mention the "Free Silver" which was BIG in Idaho.

The free silver movement were those in favor of free silver usage in coins and other uses, instead of economic fixed supply. As ridiculous as this sounds, the silver and gold standard were important parts of the economy until after the "Great War", which cost gold reserves dearly. The free silver, in effect wanted a 16-1 fixed price ratio to do so, lowering the gold standard used by the nation at the point. At the time, gold was the only unlimited metal, while silver had a strict limit, like the budget top.

If this is sounding like jargon, it only really meant one thing- more silver- more sales- more money= profits. The Free Silver put its best hopes in William Bryans Jennings, who lost handily in 1896 and 1900 to William McKinley.

Thanks for traveling with me so far. And next time, we are head to the Land of Lincoln.



Level 4

Wonderful blog with great historical baseline. Thanks for the blog.


Level 5

Thanks for the informative post coinfodder. I, like Stumpy, don't know much about Idaho either, except for potatoes of course. So I did learn some things from your blog! Thanks again for posting.


Level 5

Ive been to this state a few times, great place. Thanks for yet another informative blog! Cheers, NM


Level 6

Great state. Never been but will some day. Thanks.


Level 5

Very interesting history this state has. Liked reading your blog. Wish the coin had a potato on it ! Nice coin though.


Level 5

Wish I could have spuds right now. I had my braces adjusted and now it hurts...


Level 6

My oldest best friends lives in Boise now. He and his wife are from the Pittsburgh area but LOVE Idaho and the American West. I love their license plate with Scenic Idaho and Famous Potatoes as their message to the world.


Level 7

Thanks for your work and research. This is how.we learn. Coins by talk. All we have to do is listen!. Look what this coin said!


Level 5

Glad to read this, I readily admit to knowing nothing about the state of Idaho, except for spuds of course. Thanks for the information. Later!


Level 6

People in Idaho probably don't think it is desolate. Economically, Idaho is one of the fastest growing states.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Took a river cruise once from Portland up the Columbia River and into Idaho, then by jet boat up the Snake River. High desert, houses 5 or more miles apart. Mail delivered to mail boxes on the bank of the river with the house high above the flood plain. I don't think the winters are very easy there, but seems like a great place to live. The quarter is a nicely designed coin I think my man nub is right. The only raptor other than the eagle on a U.S. coin... Funny, always thought it was a dude on the raft. My older eyes aren't as sharp as they were!

They had an article in the Numismatist of Brian Money I believe. If only we could have silver in our coinage now. It's weird to see a predatory bird other than an eagle on a coin.

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